3:50 pm in Uncategorized by GREYDOG
Posted by snakearbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart
Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:
On the first anniversary of Gezi Park uprising, we the people, with collective consciousness, declared days ago that we wish to commemorate the victims of state violence at ground zero, Gezi Park. There is no need to repeat the fact that according to the Turkish constitution and universal human rights, any kind of peaceful protest can occur without asking for permission of anyone. While the AKP government previously employed plainclothes policemen as provocateurs to make it appear as if police were intervening to suppress violent protests, this time they did not even bother to cover the naked attempt at massacre.
Early on the morning of May 31st, with Gezi Park already closed and Istanbul in lock-down mode, with public transport cancelled, dozens of public buses kept deploying more and more policemen to Taksim Square from the airport where thousands of police officers were brought to Istanbul from all parts of Turkey. Prime Minister Erdoğan declared before the anniversary that anyone showing up on Taksim would have violated laws and that police had received orders to “do whatever it takes to get rid of the people on Taksim Square.”
25,000 riot police, paramilitary forces, 50 TOMAs (water cannons), dozens of riot vehicles, work vehicles, fire trucks, helicopters, all laid siege to Taksim Square to prevent any citizen from entering the park. Except for the vicinity of Taksim, all major squares, surrounding gathering places, mosques, hospitals, and hotel lobbies were occupied by police so that they would not be used as infirmaries or to treat wounded protesters, as happened last year. Taksim Solidarity’s campaign calling for “1 million people to Taksim” must have been absolutely terrifying for Erdoğan to give such immoral orders to stop people at whatever cost. The plainclothes people armed with uniform backpacks, batons and gas masks unleashed all kinds of savagery and brutality arbitrarily against civilians around Taksim Square.
During the day, there were not many problems. Few incidents were observed. However CNN International’s Istanbul correspondent Ivan Watson was harassed on the air. While Watson was on live report to CNN, police came and harassed him, asking for his press card and passport and later kicking him and detaining him while he was on the air, because he was a foreign journalist. This action was part of a systematic sweep of foreign journalists from the area; the orders came from a government that severely criticized the Egyptian coup government that had given similar orders.
CNN’s Ivan Watson detained by Istanbul Police On-Air:
Another significant incident that took place before there was even a protest was the raid of the Liberal Democratic Party’s building and the detention of two liberal activists. Several liberal activists from the 3H (Law Liberty Tolerance) Movement had asked for permission to hang a banner on LDP’s party building, reading in big letters “FEAR NOT!”; however only a minute after the banner was hung, police raided the building. When asked why the activists were being detained, police officers replied “we cannot detain you legally of course, so let’s go for a walk together towards the police station.” The activists were taken to the police station, their phones were confiscated and the data inside deleted (all the photos and videos of the banner being hung). Other movement members on Taksim Square taking photos of the banner were detained and the photos from their phones and cameras were deleted too.